When David Jones married his wife, Kathy, it never dawned on her that she might wind up stuffed inside a box while more than a dozen swords sliced precariously past her body.
“We rehearsed the night before the show, and she let out the biggest scream,” Jones said. “I said, ‘Honey, you’ve got to keep that up for the show, and she said, ‘I’m not kidding, let me out of here!’ She had a huge gash on her neck.”
Jones got his first magic set in the 4th grade and was hooked immediately. The following year, he took a six-session magic class at the YMCA with Chicago magician Dave Mayer, and by the start of junior high, he was entertaining at birthday parties. Following their wedding, the Jones started their own traveling stage show in Colorado, in which they performed anti drug-abuse assemblies for schools.
Seven years ago, when the 800 pounds of illusions became too much of a hassle to cart around, the couple sold everything. But Jones continued doing what he does best — inspiring children.
A teacher for more than 19 years, Jones was selected as principal of McIntosh Middle School in April. He transferred from Sarasota High School, where he held the position of assistant principal for the past three years.
Inside his new office sit hundreds of books and DVDs on magic. Although he’s learned tons of tricks, he keeps about 30 active ones in his repertoire. His favorite trick is called the “Three Card Monte,” and his favorite place to perform is in the school cafeteria.
“I’ve always used magic in the cafeteria,” Jones said. “It’s such a great way to connect with kids and, really, with anyone. If it’s done to entertain and build relationships, it’s a great thing.”
You’ll rarely see Jones without a deck of cards. During lunchtime, he moves from table to table, meeting with kids and getting to know them while astonishing them with slight of hand. He also runs the school’s magic club, where students learn three or four tricks and practice with each other to work out the kinks. He ran a similar magic club in the Colorado school system for about five years.
“I’m not the guy who’s going to be able to show you the latest move or going to impress a lot of magicians,” Jones says. “Rather, I’m the guy who’s going to be able to connect with a lot of people and enjoy the experience.”
“Don’t be a smart aleck,” David Jones says. “The entertainment value is first and foremost. If it blows the mind, that’s fantastic. Let them be entertained and always wanting more.”
“I use mental magic. It’s the illusion that I’m able to read minds or anticipate what you’re thinking.”
“I like the ‘Magician in Trouble’ (trick). It looks like a trick has just been blown to heck and is not working out, but it has an amazing climax where everything does come together. It’s among my favorite styles because it allows you to do some acting on top of it.”
Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected]